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Interim Management: It’s not a tick box exercise, it’s all about creating lasting value

26 April 2024

In our latest blog on interim management (IM), we highlight why companies choose to go down the IM route, what skills interim managers bring to a business, and what the strategic drivers are for lasting value.

 

Why do business leaders choose to onboard Interim Managers? 

We’ve supported a number of large businesses, including KMPG, Alix Partners, Neom, GKN, and Grant Thornton, to address time sensitive challenges that required an injection of talent in order to resolve business critical problems in a timely and cost effective manner. In each case, the business recognised that they didn’t have that expertise in-house, so they needed to explore interim management to help achieve the desired results.

Regardless of the challenge, whether it’s transformation, a special project, or crises, it’s the level of urgency of the task that determines whether hiring an interim manager is the best course of action.

 

What makes IMs so effective, in terms of the skillsets they bring to a business? And how do they differ from full-time employees? 

Interim managers definitely bring a unique skillset to the table and, nine times out of ten, it doesn’t exist within an organisation, which is why they’re so valuable in certain scenarios. Out of a large pool of IMs, what sets a great interim manager apart from a good one is their ability to be adaptable in their approach, overcoming unforeseen challenges with ease and adeptness through innovative thinking and open-mindedness.

Great IMs are also masterful communicators and are able to deliver impactful and often complex ideas and solutions that make sense to everyone. What sets a highly skilled IM apart from the rest of the pack is their ability to develop and articulate a long-term vision on short-term assignments, which is an extremely difficult skill to execute effectively. To them, it’s not a tick box exercise and straight out of the door, it’s all about creating lasting change that lives on far beyond their role. When you combine a strong network, a track record for delivery, financial resilience, as well as being considered and measured in their approach, then you have all the ingredients for a highly effective interim manager.

 

When should businesses consider looking for an IM? And what is the most effective process to ensure they get the most out of the hire? 

In our experience if leaders are faced with a business critical situation where they need independent and objective advice, someone with deep subject expertise to solve a business problem, and they need change to be delivered authoritatively, then that is the time to explore the option of interim management.

When it comes to getting the most of an interim hire, those companies that embrace interim management often achieve the desired results in a very short space of time.

While you have a burst of talent in the organisation, ensure you transfer that knowledge to existing staff by getting IMs to coach and develop them, or prepare the ground for a permanent employee to walk on, so they are better equipped to deal with difficult situations after the interim manager has left.

Interim managers are highly skilled at embedding themselves within an organisation in a short space of time. Make sure you facilitate the transition as quickly as possible by creating a well-defined assignment with milestones and objectives in place, so you get the most value out of the hire.

Finally, create an environment that allows the IM to use their skills and experience to drive change, getting the buy-in from senior members of the team so they engage with the vision and future state that the business via an interim manager is trying to achieve.

 

But… ‘they’re expensive, superfluous gap fillers, who add no value”. What’s the business case for using IMs? And how should leaders measure their success? 

The business case for onboarding an interim is relatively simple: the organisation requires a catalyst for sustainable change on a project basis. So how quickly will you accept that the cost of inaction is greater than the perceived cost of specialist expertise with a track record in your industry.
The ability to parachute in an individual with laser focus at pace is invaluable to a business under pressure within tight time constraints.

When it comes to results, the key is to set out clearly defined goals from the outset that help to guide and focus the efforts of an interim manager. Ultimately, if they’re brought in to resolve a complex problem, or manage transformation, has there been lasting change? The question will often be very straightforward to answer.

Interested in partnering with the Number 1 Interim Management Services provider? Contact us now to see how we can enable you and your business.

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